Pound Hounds changing lives

Council animal control co-ordinator officer Helen McLean (right) and massage therapist Rachel Haakma

Unwanted dogs at the pound have a new future thanks to Pound Hounds Rescue, the brainchild of two local women who are passionate about pooches.

Council animal control co-ordinator officer Helen McLean and massage therapist Rachel Haakma struck up a friendship around 7 years ago when Rachel adopted her dog, Teyha, from the pound.  The pair got talking and Rachel offered to take photos for Helen, who was sending out regular emails trying to rehome unwanted dogs at the pound.

Fast-forward to May this year, and the duo launched Pound Hounds Rescue, specialist dog re-homing service running exclusively through the Waipa District Council’s pounds in Cambridge and Kihikihi.  The council has always tried to find homes for unwanted pooches in the pound, Helen said, but all rehoming is now managed by Pound Hounds, which moves the dogs into foster homes before they find their ‘forever home’. Wayne Allen, Manager Planning and Regulatory at Waipa Council praised the women’s efforts.  “We are very fortunate to have people like Helen and Rachel who give up their personal time as volunteers to assist in re-homing our stray and abandoned dogs. Bringing many of these dogs into foster homes where they are cared for whilst being placed up for adoption into their ‘forever homes’ is a great outcome for the community,” he said.

Pound Hounds don’t take unwanted dogs directly from the public, because they just can’t, Rachel said. “The whole point was that this is about the dogs that couldn’t get into the other ‘rescues’ because they (the other rescue organisations) are so full of owner-surrenders and emergency cases – they would try to take them in where they could but there wasn’t always room,” she said.

And there’s a process to go through for those wanting to adopt a dog, as Helen explains.  “We try and match the right dog with the right people,” she said.  It’s in everyone’s interests for the match to be right, Helen pointed out, otherwise the adoption will be doomed to fail.  “We need it to be the best fit with their family, and it needs to match their lifestyle,” she said.

More than just a community service, this truly is a passion for Rachel and Helen.  Upon asking how many dogs have been rehomed since the service got off the ground in May, a list of names of the pups was sent through.  It’s not about the numbers, it’s about changing the lives of the dogs and the people who adopt them.  There have been 22 ‘poundies’ so far this year – that’s 22 dogs with a new future thanks to registered charity Pound Hounds and their sponsors. For more information –

including organising donations of dog food and becoming a foster ‘parent’ – visit www.poundhoundsrescue.co.nz.

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